HSBC has created a five-year, US$100 million partnership to respond to the urgent threat of climate change world-wide with the support of The Climate Group, Earthwatch Institute, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and WWF.
The HSBC Climate Partnership will:
- help some of the world's great cities - Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, New York and Shanghai - respond to the challenge of climate change;
- create 'climate champions' worldwide who will undertake field research and bring back valuable knowledge and experience to their communities;
- conduct the largest ever field experiment on the world's forests to measure carbon and the effects of climate change; and
- help protect some of the world's major rivers - including the Amazon, Ganges, Thames, and Yangtze - from the impacts of climate change, benefiting the 450 million people who rely on them.
Speaking at the London news conference to launch the programme, Sir David Attenborough, one of the world's best known broadcasters and a pioneer of the nature documentary, said, "As we increase the production of greenhouse gases, we face the very real prospect of causing irreversible damage to the Earth's more fragile eco-systems. We are not powerless if we act now, collectively and decisively. We can significantly reduce the causes of climate change and greatly improve the chances of safeguarding for future generations the spectacular diversity of life on Earth."
HSBC Group Chairman Stephen Green said, "The HSBC Climate Partnership will achieve something profoundly important. By working with four of the world's most respected environmental organisations and creating a 'green taskforce' of thousands of HSBC employees worldwide, we believe we can tackle the causes and impacts of climate change. Over the next five years HSBC will make responding to climate change central to our business operations and at the heart of the way we work with our clients across the world."
HSBC's US$100 million partnership - including the largest donations to each of these charities and the largest donation ever made by a British company - has significant programme targets and offers transformational support for the environmental charities. TheThe ddonation will help to deliver increased capacity, help the charities to expand across new countries and research sites, and increase their access to more people.
Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group said, "Climate change is an increasingly urban issue. High summer temperatures, storms and rising sea levels will have more extreme impacts on city life. We have a short period of time left to take action. Many of the solutions lie in cities - concentrations of capital, decision makers, opinion formers and population. Through the HSBC Climate Partnership we will accelerate our programme in five world cities, engaging the most influential businesses and city governments to lead a 'coalition of the willing' against global warming."
Nigel Winser, Executive Director of Earthwatch (Europe) said, "People need positive solutions to help them tackle climate change rather than messages of doom and gloom. Earthwatch is committed to inspiring action, not apathy. We will do this by involving HSBC's global workforce in online education and climate change research in forests worldwide to leave a powerful legacy."
Dr Ira Rubinoff, Director of STRI and Acting Under Secretary, Smithsonian Institution said, "The Smithsonian has studied tropical forests in Panama for nearly one hundred years. We are setting up a network of new Global Earth Observatories, based on the longest-running standardised forest monitoring programme, covering all the major tropical rainforest areas of the world. HSBC's donation will enable the Smithsonian to deliver key scientific data in the hands of decision makers responsible for global carbon policy and water management."
James Leape, Director General of WWF International said, "WWF is pleased to be continuing its collaboration with HSBC. Climate change, poor management and waste mean that water supplies around the world are more and more stressed. The HSBC Climate Partnership will help WWF work towards better management of global water supplies, improve water security for about 450 million people, and reduce the impact of climate change on some of the world's most important rivers, including the Amazon, Ganges, Thames and Yangtze."
The HSBC Climate Partnership builds upon 'Investing in Nature', the Group's previous US$50 million, five-year eco-partnership which concluded in 2006. The programme saw the Group partner with Botanical Gardens Conservation International, Earthwatch, and WWF, saving more than 12,000 plant species from extinction, training 200 scientists, sending 2,000 HSBC employees on conservation research projects world-wide, and protecting and better managing three of the world's largest rivers - including part of the Yangtze River in China - benefiting some 50 million people.